ASUS, and particularly the ROG series of laptops continue to be one of the market leaders when it comes to portable gaming devices. The ASUS ROG Strix G15 continues that trend, building on the predecessors to make a laptop that can cover all gaming aspects. The Strix G15 comes in three variations – we tested the Electro Punk variation (a pink themed device which is only available in the 15-inch model), but there is also Original Black and Glacier Blue which have 15-inch and 17-inch variants.
From the time the box is opened, the Electro Punk version of the laptop looks every inch a gaming machine and oozes with personality. It has a brushed metal finish with the diagonal split that recent ASUS laptops have employed, prevalent once again. Despite the Strix G15 weighing in at just 2.3kgs, it has a sturdy feel. The screen hinge is set forward a couple of centimetres from the back allowing for enhanced cooling and air ventilation at the rear. However, when the hinge swings open it is perched above this ventilation design and sits in a similar position to any other screen. Although the Electro Punk variation is mostly black, the pink highlights and ROG logo on the back of the screen would suggest that it is aimed more towards the female gamer market. And despite me not being in that suspected target audience, I like the bold look and if given the choice of colour would be hard-pressed to decide between the Electro Punk and the Glacier Blue.
Once the power button is pressed, it bursts to life with a rainbow of colours shining across an RGB light bar that wraps around the underside of the laptop. This can, of course, be customised to the gamer’s liking via the use of the installed Armour Crate software. The transparent keys too, can allow any combination of colours via the software which is essentially the control panel for all the laptop customisations. The WASD keys are highlighted in the matching hot pink of the ROG logo and the lower right of the keyboard section is filled with some stylised graffiti-like ROG-based text.
Despite the wonderfully bold styling of the Electro Punk version, it is missing a couple of features that would enable it to be more than an entertainment device. None of the three versions has a full sized numpad, and although the Original Black version rectifies this with a numpad built into the touchpad, the Electro Punk version does not have this feature. Yes, the Original Black model has a more business-like design, but there are people who like to game and work on the same machine, and to limit it to the black version and reduce the choice seems a strange decision.
Also missing is an inbuilt webcam. Like the omission of a numpad, this reduces business productivity – essentially reducing the Strix G15 Electro Punk to a gaming/entertainment only device. The move is especially strange considering that the world has taken to Zoom calls to keep workplaces running and families connected during the current pandemic. Fortunately, ASUS have added a separate webcam which can be set up in a number of configurations. But it does mean that you’ll have something extra you’ll need to carry around with you.
OK…enough of what the Strix G15 Electro Punk doesn’t have, and more of what it does have. The USB inputs are all on the left side of the machine. This does mean that if you’re a right hander and game with a wired mouse, you’re going to have cables stretching around the laptop. But the flipside of this, is that this allows more room on the right for moving the mouse – particularly beneficial for right handed gamers. There are three USB3.2 Type A inputs and an Audio combo jack on the left side of the laptop.
The rear of the device is home to the ethernet LAN jack and a USB3.0 Type C port. A HDMI outlet and power adapter inputs are also both at the rear of the laptop, which for me, is the optimal placement. The heat dissipation is also through the rear of the laptop, with the fans at the rear blowing hot air away from the gamer. One thing I (and those around me) were quick to notice, is that when the laptop is under load, the fans do get quite noisy. There are several settings that can reduce the level of noise, but it also reduces the output too, so if you don’t want your machine to overheat, you’re stuck with the louder fans. If however, you primarily game with a headset (particularly a set with noise cancelling),this will largely be a moot point anyway.
The chiclet keyboard has a pleasant feel when typing. The keys are super responsive, and only require a soft press to provide output. The keys are spaced apart nicely, with the arrow keys slightly lower on the keyboard than the main set of keys. The keyboard also houses several specialty function keys.
Although the ROG Strix G15 (well, the Electro Punk version) may not be an all-rounder, with its lack of numpad and built in webcam, it does however perform superbly as a gaming laptop. The narrow bezel and ultrafast 240Hz gaming panel with 3ms response time definitely helps in aiding immersion with smooth visuals across all the tested games. For those of you with a VR device, the Strix G15 will be able to handle anything you throw at it. During the VR Performance Test, there were no frames that dropped below 90FPS and the overall result came in at ‘Very High’ with a VR score of 11.
This too showed through on Cyberpunk 2077. Despite all the issues/bugs encountered by players, running the game on the Strix G15 provided no such problems. Everything flowed smoothly, with the FPS only occasionally dropping below 40FPS on high settings. The Nvidia GeForce RTX2060 (the RTX2070 is also available) performed superbly, allowing protagonist V to show off all her skills without any lag or choppiness in framerates that other players complained of as she journeyed through Night City and its Districts. The characters and the locales are all on display in all their glory. We also tested the Electro Punk with Overwatch, and although the game has never been taxing on any decent gaming PC, the vibrant colours showed through wonderfully whilst maintaining a steady 200FPS throughout, making the laptop perfect for e-sports gamers.
Having said that, if you’re playing on the go, you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget the power adapter. I got just over 4 hours use out of the battery when web browsing, and around three hours when watching movies/TV shows before the laptop turned off. When gaming though, I only got less than 2 hours of gameplay before I had to plug in the power adapter.
In all, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 Electro Punk does a great job as a gaming laptop, allowing gamers to play any current game at a high quality. The same goes for watching movies and listening to your favourite tunes. The configurable RGB lighting and bold hot pink highlights stand out and allow gamers to customise the laptop as they feel fit. But if you’re after a device to use for work and play, you may want to look at the Original Black version or the Zephyrus, as the lack of a numpad (particularly, if like me, you work with numbers) and an inbuilt webcam reduce workplace productivity. The poor battery life will also mean that it is more of a desktop replacement than a portable gaming laptop.
Specs (Review Unit)
Intel Core i7-1070H CPU @ 2.60GHz
16GB DDR4 SO-DIMM
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
15.6” DH (1920x1080) 16:9 anti-glare display
144Hz refresh rate
Windows 10 Home
4 Cell Li-ion battery